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One of the cornerstones of TAG’s work is weighing in on mission-related issues by sending comment letters to a variety of organizations, including Federal agencies, Senate and House committees, Pharmaceutical companies, and the WHO. Various staff members also frequently testify in person at committee hearings, and submit written testimony.

2020 Letters

Petition to Require Mayor DeBlasio to Restore Contact Tracing Authority and Responsibility Back to the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
May 13, 2020 — A group of New York City community and public health leaders called on NY State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker to exercise his authority under NY State Public Health Law and in compliance with the New York State Sanitary Code, the New York City Charter, New York City Health Code and Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 202.19, to restore rightful authority the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to oversee and implement contact tracing of persons with Covid-19 in the jurisdiction of New York City, in cooperation with adjacent jurisdictions.  As the petition asserts, failure to do so will result in grievance harm to the public health of the residents of New York City. We requested that the Commissioner reverse the ill-taken decision to bifurcate this responsibility between the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which has a long and successful history of carrying out this responsibility, and Health and Hospital Corporation, which not only has no history or experience with contact tracing and no legal authority to do so.

Letter to NYC Government Officials About Reported de Blasio Plan to Put Health + Hospitals in Contact Tracing Leadership Role
May 7, 2020 — The COVID-19 Working Group New York sent this letter responding to reports that NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is planning to put Health + Hospitals in the leadership role of a new initiative of COVID-19 contact tracing, a “reckless and potentially disastrous departure from sound public health practice.”

Long-Term U.S. HIV Activists’ Letter to the FDA Regarding SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 Diagnostics
April 22, 2020 — Letter from a group of long-term U.S. HIV activists and organizations to Commissioner Stephen Hahn of the FDA, expressing dismay at the current state of SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 diagnostics. In the letter, the members of the CWG review various COVID-19 tests, and provide short- and long-term recommendations.

Proposal to Create Safe Spaces for Vulnerable Persons and Those with Presumed or Confirmed COVID-19 and Mild to Moderate Disease
April 15, 2020 — The COVID-19 Working Group, New York (TAG is a member), sent this proposal to a variety of NY political leaders, urging that people who have a “high risk of exposure or presumed or confirmed COVID-19 with mild to moderate disease” who can’t self isolate at home should be offered the option, either by NY State or City, of safe spaces where they can voluntary isolate in a supportive environment.

Letter to the White House Coronavirus Task Force
April 9, 2020 — TAG and other organizations and individuals signed on to this letter sent to the White House Coronavirus Task Force members, requesting immediate action to strengthen and focus the US Government response to COVID-19, both in the U.S. and internationally.

Public Comment for Draft Guidance on Demonstrating Substantial Evidence of Effectiveness for Human Drug and Biological Products
March 20, 2020 — TAG submitted comments in response to FDA Draft Guidance on Demonstrating Substantial Evidence of Effectiveness for Human Drug and Biological Products. Further guidance for research on treatments for rare diseases is needed, but stringent regulatory authority and quality clinical trial design must not be sacrificed in the name of expediency.

Leading Community Activists and Epidemiologists Demand NYC Take Stronger Action to Mitigate COVID-19 Outbreak
March 9, 2020 — TAG, PrEP4ALL and a number of other organizations/individuals sent this letter to New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio, Council Speaker Corey Johnson, and Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot. It demands immediate transparency on, and public involvement in, their response to the COVID-19 outbreak, and requests a conversation with the staff of all three offices as soon as possible.

Letter to USPTO Opposing Gilead’s Patent Term Extension Request for TAG
January 31, 2020 — Treatment Action Group (TAG) joined 36 other organizations who signed on to this letter to the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), opposing Gilead’s request for a patent term extension for tenofovir alafenamide (TAF). The letter also supports a recent petition submitted by PrEP4All, based on evidence that Gilead intentionally delayed development of TAF for approximately six years in order to maximize profits from another compound. TAG urges the USPTO to reject Gilead’s request and allow for greater access to TAF.

TAG Comment on the Trans-NIH Strategic Plan Goals for Sexual & Gender Minority (SGM) Health Research
January 24, 2020 — TAG submitted this public comment in response to a Request for Information on the Development of the Fiscal Year 2021-2025 Trans-NIH Strategic Plan for Sexual & Gender Minority Health Research, affirming the need for a research agenda that will best address HIV, TB, and HCV among LGBTQ+ communities and incorporate equity and justice in all such research.

Open Letter: Time to Lower the Price of Xpert Cartridges to $5
January 6, 2020 — TAG joined 156 organizations and individuals to demand that Cepheid lower the price of Xpert tests for TB, HIV, HCV and other diseases to improve access to rapid, accurate diagnostic testing.

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